What Is a Wireless Network Device?

Cable TV with a remote control can be seen as a basic wireless device.
Wireless routers allow people to access the Internet without an Ethernet cable.
A wireless network device.
Broadcasting towers are a kind of wireless network device.
Wireless servers are more susceptible to hacking.
Some printers and photocopiers can be connected to a network wirelessly.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Nick M.
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2015
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A wireless network device is a type of electronic that can be used on or used to help facilitate a wireless Internet network. There are many different devices that can fit within this definition, and the number only seems to be growing as wireless Internet becomes more and more widespread. One of the most common examples is a router, which converts a fixed Internet signal into a wireless one and effectively creates a network that computers and other technology can connect to without the use of cables or other cords. The things that are actually doing the connecting are also usually considered network devices, though, and this can include anything from computers and phones to e-readers and a wide range of “smart” gadgets. One of the core things that all have in common is the ability to both send and receive a wireless signal, and to connect instantaneously with other components on the same network.


Basic Concept

In the world of Internet technology, wireless networks are becoming increasingly common. Not only are they growing in use in homes and offices, but they are also more and more commonplace in public areas like cafes, shopping malls, and restaurants. The networks aren’t usually worth much without devices that can jump onto them and use the signals provided for some other purpose. Computers and many Internet-enabled phones use the signals primarily for browsing and e-mail capabilities. There are many more things that can be done, including storing and capturing data, routing cable television signals, and remotely controlling a range of things from garage door openers to light switches and home alarm systems.

How They Work

This type of device works in cooperation with very specific wireless signals. The specifics tend to vary based on the engineering at issue as well as what it is the signal is being used to do, but in general, every device no matter its end purpose has both a sender and a receiver. The receiver picks up of the signal in the environment, and the sender converts it into something that can then be used for some other purpose within the network.

In order to take advantage of newer wireless signals and technologies, a wireless network device must usually be compatible with and up to date with that specific signal. Technology often changes more rapidly than product development. In many cases this requires upkeep and software installations on the user’s part, and regular updating is usually very important.

Router Capabilities and Signal Division

Wireless network devices can use a range of different signals. Much of this depends on the type of device and its purpose, as well as the sort of router anchoring the network as a whole. Wireless routers can operate on band signals such as 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. 802.11n requires a router with specific built-in technology. It offers a stronger signal and greater range compared to other wireless router networks.

Different bands and signals are also what allow these sorts of devices to run simultaneously without interfering with each other. Many households have wireless Internet as well as cable TV with a remote control and web-based data storage, both of which can be seen as basic wireless devices. Using the remote to flick to another channel on a TV does not interfere with using the Internet, any more than checking e-mail on a phone while also streaming video on a laptop would. This is because different devices typically use different bands and signals.

Signal Conversions

Aside from being a device that broadcasts wireless signals, a network device may also be one that receives signals. Many video game consoles are examples of this sort of device when they’re able to sync with a home's wireless router to allow online game play and other features. Other examples of these devices include USB wireless adapters, wireless cards, some wireless keyboards and mice, and wireless printers. Any device or peripheral that operates by connecting to a wireless network is usually considered to be a wireless network device.


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Discuss this Article

Post 5

I bought a new wireless router to connect my lap to internet through wifi. But my laptop is pretty old which of 2008 model (Acer) and it doesn't have wireless option to connect to internet through WIFI. Can anyone help me on how to handle this and get the WIFI connected from my laptop?

Post 4

Why do think we've seen some major advancements in the use of wireless devices within our society over the past decade, I think there has to be some major technological breakthroughs in order for us to truly incorporate wireless network technology into our daily lives.

Only when the bandwidth restraints that we currently see on wireless networks are overcome we truly able to develop and deliver media content over these wireless networks. High-definition video signals are very very difficult to send wirelessly over a digital network because of the amount of information that must be transmitted within that bandwidth. I do think that it is possible for us to overcome these obstacles but only when we do we see a true integration of complete wireless entertainment systems and workspaces.

Post 3

I think that people put too much validity in the use of wireless network devices. What happens when these devices fail and you are unable to entertain work or complete a task that you have to do? Also, I have found it extremely difficult to be able to set up different types of wireless devices and I think by over complicating the electronic consumer market with these devices will simply infuriate customers. Is a manufacturer of consumer electronic devices is smart, they will make it easier for consumers to set up their wireless networks.

Consumers should be able to un-box new piece of equipment plug-in into a power source in simply press a few buttons to be

able to set up the device to work with their tools and other devices. Only when we see the ease of setting up wireless networks become simpler will we see a true surge in the use of wireless network devices. I look forward to the day when it becomes much simpler than pouring through very extensive manuals that come from these manufacturers that are often translated from a foreign language.
Post 2

I think one of the coolest kinds of wireless network devices that are hitting the market now are actually audio and video sending and receiving units. These type of devices allow for audio and video signals to be sent wirelessly from a computer to a stereo or television set. The reason that this is so useful is that you are able to play any type of audio or video media stored on a computer onto your stereo or TV. This means that your limits to what kind of media delivery you can use to enjoy your entertainment system is almost limitless when you combine it with the powers of the Internet.

While some of these devices are very primitive

still, we are seeing more and more devices coming out on the market every day that allow for better use of wireless technology and information to be transferred between these devices. New types of standards for wireless communication are also helping these devices become more efficient at completing their task. The sending and receiving of a wireless audio and video signal is nothing new, but to do so digitally over a data network via a home computer routing device is something that is very new. Something to also take into consideration when considering these wireless network devices is the type of definition that they are sending me signals and. Most home consumers want to be able to use high definition television signals from their computer to their TV but the older types of analog signals that were sent simply could not hold this kind of resolution.

At some point in time cables like HDMI and other expensive standards will become obsolete and replaced with wireless standards even if the device is close enough to be connected by a cable. This might seem silly but the reality is that cables clutter many of our workspaces and entertainment systems today.

Post 1

I have to admit that I've been absolutely fascinated over the last few years with the amount of wireless network devices that are hitting the consumer electronics market. These wide-ranging electronic devices have a variety of uses and direct their marketing towards a wide range of users.

One of the most interesting devices that I have yet to see is a dedicated instant messaging device designed for young people. This device is very basic and has a black-and-white screen, several manufacturers are making these devices and they all do one task. That one task is simply to work as a Internet messaging device that operates on a wireless home network.

By simplifying this device it is not needed

that an individual actually be using a laptop computer or desktop computer to communicate via the Internet on instant messaging services. These small devices are handheld can be used comfortably when sitting on the couch while watching TV or a movie. Because of the portability of these devices, one can simply put it in your pocket and if you happen to go to a café with free Wi-Fi you can instant message there as well.

Is possible with the advent of newer types of smart phones and wireless communication devices that we will see this device phasing out but it is a cheap alternative to give to a child at a young age they do not want to entrust with a very expensive piece of consumer electronic equipment. I urge parents with young children could either computer time on the family machine by instant messaging to look into these devices as an alternative to sitting on the home computer all evening while talking to friends.

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